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Posted By
1/8/2019 7:46pm
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Replies: 5

Hey Warriors, it has been a little while since I've posted here. I think at this point almost a year, but I figured this might be one of the last/best places to get some support and even a reality check. 

My background is that I am currently 2 years out of a stage IIIB diagnoses, did a 1 year trial of adjuvant pembro every three weeks. NED, next scans are at the end of this month. 

I'm 27 years old and have had the same job for the past 4 years. Like anything else, sometimes its great, sometimes it is not. I've been promoted in the last year, so higher responsibility and pay and I really like the people. Is it where I see myself in 5 years? Not exactly, but I think I'm gaining valuable experience. 

The best part of it: the healthcare. We have one of those old employer plans thats basically a hold over from the old days where premiums are super low and the coverage is outstanding. It has covered everything over the past 3 years of my diagnoses (scans/MRI/appointments/ get it). 

Now I'm a fairly young guy, and I've been recruited pretty heavily by a local team in a different industry to become what is essentially an apprentice. This means that if I left my current job I'd lose insurance (or switch to COBRA, which would be $800/month out of pocket) and then have my salary reduced by about $40k. This is all in the hopes that in a few years I'll be out of the apprentice role making more moeny(ideally, maybe not). 

So I'm reaching out to you, the MRF warriors. People who have fought and are in the fight. I can be humble here and recognize that I'm lucky. I have my current health and this opportunity before me. I'm beyond grateful for that. Has anyone else been through this? Is this just a gamble I'll have to make in life? Is being conservative about my job and health care security intelligent?

But is the wise choice to stick with my insurance and current level of stability now and get a few more years out before I start looking at big career direction shifts?What would you do?

Apologies if this is totally off base from normal questions on here, it is moreso one on health care decision making..

--A very conflicted warrior




MichelleRHG - (1/8/2019 - 9:05pm)

That's a tough question! Everyone's situation is unique. When I was stage 3 my husband took a job 4 hours away and left me and our daughter with special needs at home so that i could continue with the same insurance. It covered MDAnderson as "in network" and was great. Fear of the unknown and gratitude for good healthcare spurred our decision. Good thing because soon after, I progressed to Stage 4. He's back home now, still with same insurance and we are thankful I'm NED. It was tough with him away but we made the right decision for us. It's nice that you have 2 good options! Good luck.

casagrayson - (1/9/2019 - 5:20pm)

This topic is still so much more complicated than it should be.  :(  I'll throw some things out for you to consider, though.

1)  Currently, pre-existing conditions cannot be considered when buying insurance -- they can't deny you, and they can't charge you more.  However, if Republicans get their way, this protection will go away.  When?  Probably not in the next two years ... given that the Democrats control the House.  But I'd be worried for 2021.  Is the new job one that would provide you with employer-sponsored insurance once your apprenticeship was over?  If so, then you only need to be concerned for the next couple of years.  If no employer insurance will ever be an option ... that might be a non-starter.

2)  COBRA is absolutely ridiculous from a financial point of view.  You would probably be better off buying private insurance through the ACA marketplace. Once again, your pre-existing condition won't be a problem now, but it could be in a few years.  Remember, too, that there are *many* different options on the market, but some of them only cover catastrophic accidents/illness.  You would need to dig deeply into the details to see what types of cancer treatments are covered and at what percentage.  Having insurance that allows you to access many different specialists and hospitals in network would also be a major consideration.  This insurance will be more affordable if you live in a state that accepted the Medicaid expansion program from the Federal government.

From my position as a patient advocate (for a different chronic illness), I am so sad that we are still having to base our career moves on health insurance decisions.  No matter your political affiliation, those who struggle with chronic disease and major medical expenses should be advocating for a single-payer health system and taking the "profit" out of the insurance companies.

Strength and Courage,


Anonymous - (1/10/2019 - 2:47pm)

Dont know if politics should enter into this discussion. All the Republicans I know want preexisting conditions covered and don't want to throw your grandmother off a cliff either.

WithinMySkin - (1/9/2019 - 10:12pm)

This is something I had to decide on as well. I left the company I was with to start my own freelancing/consulting gig. I still have yearly scans, and my husband didn't qualify for health insurance through his work at that time, so we opted to do COBRA. Researching the marketplace, if I went onto basic insurance, it wouldn't cover my scans, plus I'd have to start over on deductibles AND they didn't consider my oncologist 'in network' as he is out of state. I trust my rock star doc with my life!!!!! So even though COBRA was a whopping $1000/mo it made sense to stick it out until my husband qualified for health insurance through his work. We started the new insurance on January 1 so bye bye COBRA!

If I were in your spot, I think I would think of it like this...why do you want to leave? Learning a new trade or taking a new career path is always exciting, but if it doesn't further you towards something greater then it's not worth it. What is it about this new opportunity that is alluring? It's clearly not the cash as you say you may not earn more money. Is it the skillset? Is it something that's more challanging? Figure out what it is that is drawing you in first and then figure out if you can actually do something similar in your spare time or even adjust the job you have now to fit that role a bit more. I say this because if it's something as simple as an opportunity to learn new things, then you can do this without changing jobs. Or maybe you can apprentice in the afternoons and weekends for a few weeks to see if you really realllly want to change your career path. Many trades/apprentice situations aren't black and white - they can fit into your schedule ESPECIALLY since they are trying to recruit you (not visa versa) you have the negotiation power.

Don't ever let melanoma hold you back...but you should let melanoma hold you accountable. If you know 100000% you want to take this new position, then save up a little 'just in case' cash cushion and take it. But if you're on the fence, start digging deep and getting creative. Explore. Maybe with a few insightful tweeks, you will actually LOVE the job you have now. Or maybe you'll find a new hobby outside of work that is really fulfilling and helps scratch that itch to try new things. Living the life you want to live will always make you happier than living someone else's life. Just make sure it's truly worth taking the risk before jumping.

Health and happiness,




MichelleRHG - (1/10/2019 - 7:58am)

I forgot to add that ACA would NOT have provided the same quality of care that our current insurance does, COBRA would have eventually ended, thus my husband's move to keep current insurance. Great advice from the others here!